If you are holidaying in Rome, a visit to Sistine Chapel is a must.
The Sistine Chapel, earlier known as Cappella Magna, was restored by Pope Sixtus IV between 1477 and 1480 and is currently named after him.
Sistine Chapel is at the end of Vatican Museums, and visitors always see them together.
Table of contents
- How to reach Sistine Chapel
- Sistine Chapel hours
- How long does Sistine Chapel take?
- Best time to visit Sistine Chapel
- Entering Sistine Chapel for free
- Sistine Chapel tickets
- What to see in Sistine Chapel
- Sistine Chapel dress code
- Sistine Chapel mass times
- Photography inside Sistine Chapel
How to reach Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel is in Vatican City in the Apostolic Palace, which is the official residence of the Pope.
It is at the end of Vatican Museums, and you can go to the Sistine Chapel only by going through the museums.
From the entrance of the Vatican Museum, it takes approximately 30 minutes to reach the Sistine Chapel.
The Vatican Museums are located on the northern edge of Vatican City, on the west side of the Tiber River.
Some of the most affordable and readily available options to reach the Vatican Museums are the Subway, the Tram, and the Hop-on Hop-off bus tours.
Subway is usually the most convenient option to reach the Vatican Museums (and thus Sistine Chapel).
Cipro Metro Station is best for early morning visits, and we recommend Ottaviano Metro Station for late mornings or mid-day visits.
Vatican Museums is seven minutes walk from both the Metro stations.
If you can’t figure out where to go, follow the crowd or click here for directions to reach the Vatican Museums entrance.
Tram No. 19 can drop you at the St Peter’s stop (also known as Risorgimento/S. Pietro), close to Vatican City.
However, it isn’t easy to take the Tram from the city center of Rome.
The most commonly used bus routes to reach the Vatican are Bus No. 40 and 64.
They start right in front of the Termini Train station and end at the Vatican.
Sistine Chapel hours
From Monday to Saturday, Sistine Chapel opens at 9 am and closes at 6 pm.
On Sundays, it remains closed, except for the last Sunday of the month when the Chapel opens at 9 am and closes at 2 pm.
The Chapel also remains closed on the 1 and 6 January, 11, 19, 22, and 28 February, 29 June, 15 August, 1 November, and 8 and 26 December.
How long does Sistine Chapel take?
Most visitors spend around three hours exploring both the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.
Even if you want to fast-track to the Sistine Chapel, you will need at least 90 minutes.
It takes a half-hour to walk from the Vatican Museums’ entrance to the Sistine Chapel, and then you spend approximately 30 minutes admiring the art on display at the chapel.
Best time to visit Sistine Chapel
The best time to visit Sistine Chapel is as soon as it opens at 9 am.
If you can’t make it in the morning, the next best time to visit Sistine Chapel is in the late afternoon – between 1.30 and 3.30 pm.
During both these periods, visitors will be crowding the Vatican Museum, and the Chapel will be relatively less crowded.
Booking your tickets online helps in timing your visit better because you don’t waste your time standing in lines.
The Rome Tourist Pass is a super saver. For just €74 per person, the pass includes entry tickets to Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and Pantheon and a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. You also get a 10% discount code, which you can use (five times!) to get discounts on future purchases.
Entering Sistine Chapel for free
The Sistine Chapel allows free entry on the last Sunday of each month. But since it is free entry, you must be ready to brave a massive crowd on this day.
The entry is also free on the 27th of September, i.e., World Tourism Day.
Sistine Chapel tickets
One ticket, many attractions
Since visitors must go through the Vatican Museums to get to Sistine Chapel, one ticket gets you to access both the attractions.
St Peter’s Basilica is free to enter, and there is a much-less crowded route from inside the Vatican Museums to the Basilica.
As a result, it is fair to say that one ticket gets you access to three attractions – Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St Peter’s Basilica.
Where to buy tickets
You can get your Sistine Chapel entry tickets at the venue or buy them online, much in advance.
If you plan to get them at the attraction, depending on the time of the day (and month), you may have to wait in the ticket counter line for an hour or more.
The second and better option is to book tickets to Sistine Chapel online.
When you buy Sistine Chapel tickets in advance, you save yourself a lot of waiting time by skipping the ticket counter queue.
How online tickets work
When you buy Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums entry tickets online, they get emailed to you within minutes of the purchase.
On the day of your visit, you can show your ticket on your smartphone and walk in — no need to take printouts.
Sistine Chapel discounts
Sistine Chapel’s Skip the Line ticket, the cheapest and most popular way to enter the museum, costs 22 Euros for all adults 18 years and older.
Kids six to 18 years and students up to 25 years old (with a valid student ID) must pay a discounted price of 14 Euros for their admission.
While availing of these Sistine Chapel ticket discounts, please keep a valid photo ID card ready.
Without a valid ID, you will be asked to pay for a full-price ticket to enter, and you won’t get back the money for the discounted ticket.
Kids below six years can walk in for free.
Cheapest Sistine Chapel tickets
These are also known as Vatican Museum tickets because they get you access to both the attractions.
After you have seen both, you can also go and explore St Peter’s Basilica.
You can book these tickets with or without the audio guide.
Adult ticket (18+ years): €22
Kids ticket (6 to 17 years): €14
Student ticket (18 to 25 years, with valid ID): €14
*For €5.40 per person you can book an audio guide in advance
*Kids younger than six can walk in for free.
Sistine Chapel’s guided tour
If you can afford it, we highly recommend a guided tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel.
Guided tours to Sistine Chapel are possible only in combination with Vatican Museums and/or St Peter’s Basilica.
We recommend a three-hour guided tour, which provides skip-the-line access to the three most magnificent sites in the Vatican City – Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, and St Peter’s Basilica.
Ticket prices may vary depending on the maximum number of people allowed in the tour (from a maximum of 8 to 40 people) and the time of the tour.
This tour is not wheelchair accessible.
Children below the age of 5 years are allowed entry for free.
For the ultimate Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel VIP experience, check out this guided tour with a dedicated entrance.
Sistine Chapel private tour
When you book a private tour of the Vatican, you get to maximize your time with the guide and customize your itinerary to your interests.
Since these private tours are booked in advance, you get to avoid the notoriously long lines at the ticket counter.
This private tour of the Vatican is the most popular amongst visitors.
If you want something cheaper, you can check out this semi-private tour of the Vatican.
If you are a group of friends or a large family, this ultimate VIP Private tour will work out best.
Sistine Chapel night tour
From April to October, every Friday, the Vatican Museums are open from 7 pm to 11 pm.
During this guided 3-hour night tour, you also get to explore Sistine Chapel.
The last entry for the night tour is at 9.30 pm.
This exclusive tour is limited to 18 people per group.
Because of the pandemic, the night tours are now paused.
Last minute Sistine Chapel tickets
Many visitors end up searching for last-minute Vatican tickets or last-minute Sistine Chapel tickets because they forgot to book them well in advance.
Some tourists search for online tickets at the eleventh hour after seeing the long lines at the Vatican Museum entrance.
Either way, you need not worry.
Popular travel websites buy Sistine Chapel tickets in advance and sell them as last minute tickets.
These same-day tickets cost 4 Euros more than the regular tickets, but most visitors don’t care as long as they can skip the long lines.
Because of the pandemic, the night tours are now paused.
Adult ticket (18+ years): 33 Euros
Child ticket (6 to 17 years): 23 Euros
Vatican + Colosseum deal
Tourists usually plan a trip to the Colosseum and Vatican City because they are two of the biggest attractions in Rome.
This tour provides you with skip-the-line access to St Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and the Colosseum, along with the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.
Once activated, your ticket is valid for three consecutive calendar days.
Full ticket (18+ years): 85 Euros
Child ticket (6-17 years): 60 Euros
Children below the age of 5 years are allowed entry for free.
For just 100 Euros per person, you can have a professional guide take you through the Vatican attractions and Colosseum on a day-long tour. Find out more
What to see in Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel is one of the most fantastic creations of the Renaissance period and stands testament to man’s genius.
The beautiful artwork of the Sistine Chapel and its magnificent scale make it a one-of-a-kind site for art, romance, and history.
Some of the highlights of the Sistine Chapel are –
Sistine Chapel ceiling
The Sistine Chapel ceiling is one of the most impressive sights to have emerged from the masterful strokes of Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512.
One of the masterpieces of high Renaissance art, the ceiling till this day is a beauty to behold.
Pope Julius II commissioned the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and it serves as the location of papal conclaves and many other important services.
The main element central to the Chapel’s ceiling is the depiction of the nine scenes of the Book of Genesis, the Creation of Adam being one of the most iconic representations of God and Man and the moment of creation.
The Last Judgement
Michelangelo painted the Last Judgement above the Sistine Chapel Altar, depicting Dante’s version of the Last Judgement as in Divine Comedy.
The North Wall of the Chapel depicts scenes from the life of Jesus Christ by various artists.
Don’t miss out on Perugino’s The Baptism of Jesus, Botticelli’s The Temptation of Jesus, Rosselli’s The Sermon on the Mount, and the iconic The Last Supper.
The South Wall of the Chapel depicts scenes from the life of Moses by various artists.
Some of the masterpieces to look out for are Perugino’s Moses’ Journey Through Egypt, Rosselli’s The Ten Commandments, and Luca Signorelli’s Moses’ Final Acts and Death.
Sistine Chapel dress code
Sistine Chapel has a strict dress code to allow entry into its premises.
While visiting the Sistine Chapel, you have to wear clothes covering your shoulders and knees as a sign of respect.
Therefore, sleeveless or low-cut clothing along with shorts, skirts, and hats are not allowed.
If you don’t follow the dress code applicable at Sistine Chapel, you will be denied entry even if you are carrying a ticket.
Visitors who aren’t dressed appropriately can purchase plastic cloaks from the venue.
However, wearing such cloaks can be uncomfortable in hot weather.
Sistine Chapel mass times
The Sistine Chapel does not offer mass service to the public, but other sites are open for mass in the Vatican.
Visitors who want to attend a mass can try the ones at St Peter’s Basilica and St Peter’s Square, which are free to enter.
However, you must get the free tickets, which are issued a few days before the event.
St Peters Basilica can seat 15,000 people at a time, but entry can’t be guaranteed even if you have the tickets because it is pretty popular with locals and tourists.
That’s why we recommend you arrive a few hours before the scheduled time for Mass.
Interested in free entry to the Colosseum, Vatican Museums, St Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel? Buy the Omnia Card
Photography inside Sistine Chapel
No photography or filming is allowed inside the Sistine Chapel under a funding agreement with Nippon Television Network, a Japanese Corporation that paid for the 9-year restoration project of all artworks and the Sistine Chapel.
This agreement provided the Network with exclusive rights to photography and videography inside the premises.
There are guards placed to ensure nobody clicks photographs inside the Sistine Chapel.
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